The neuroscience of language is a multidisciplinary field. The reader's primary interest may therefore lie in various classical disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, neurology, linguistics, computational modeling, or even philosophy. Because readers with different backgrounds may be interested in different parts of this book, Chapter 1, Section 1.3 gives an overview of the book contents and the gist of each chapter. In Section 1.1, the general structure of the book is explained; subsequently, paths through the book are recommended for readers with different backgrounds and interests in Section 1.2.
Structure and Function of the Book
The fourteen chapters of this book are mainly designed to convey one single message: It is a good idea to think about language in terms of brain mechanisms – to spell out language in the language of neurons, so to speak. Making this point is not a new proposal. One can find similar statements in classical writings; for example, in Freud's monograph on aphasia (Freud, 1891) and other publications by neurologists in the late nineteenth century, and, of course, in modern brain-theoretical and linguistic publications (Braitenberg, 1980; Mesulam, 1990; Schnelle, 1996a). However, a systematic model of language at the level of neurons as to date is not available, at least, not an approach that would be both grounded in empirical research while at the same time attacking a wide range of complex linguistic phenomena.